Poland: Recalling in Sorrow and Hope

Two years ago, Solidarity was born, and changed a nation

Free trade unions. An end to the Polish government's meddling in daily life. A greater voice in public affairs. Until two years ago last week, these lofty goals were only the dreams of a handful of militant workers and intellectuals. Then, quite unexpectedly, during two momentous weeks in August 1980, everything in Poland changed.

Workers at the Lenin shipyard, in the Baltic seaport of Gdansk, laid down their tools on Aug. 14 and refused to leave. As news of the strike spread, an unemployed...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!